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Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Holiday Appetizers

hummus

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?
For every holiday party I’ve been invited to, the host instructions are to bring “an appetizer or dessert.” As much as I love baking, I prefer to bring the former. There are always plenty of sweets at a holiday gathering, but no guarantee that there will be meatless pre-dinner snacks. If I bring one or two vegetarian appetizers, it guarantees that I’m able to snack while I’m mingling and if dinner happens to be a whole bunch of ham and prime rib, then at least I can continue to nibble on my own apps.

The best bring-to-a-party appetizers are those that pack well so they won’t get all mangled in your travels and that can be made ahead — don’t count on being able to do a lot of last-minute prep or assembly at the party. If you’re bringing a hot dip or something that needs to be cooked (even re-heated) before serving, check with the host to make sure you’ll have access to the stove, oven or microwave.

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Meatless Monday: Can You Put an Egg on It?


Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Eggs-on-things seems to be a trend of late: eggs on burgers, eggs on salads, restaurants that will put an egg on anything for a $1. Is there a limit to what you can top with an egg? I don’t think so; my favorite way to make a meal complete is to add an egg to it. It works for stretching leftovers: if you have just a little bit of fried rice or pasta leftover, add an egg or two to it to make it a meal. And it works for turning something not-so-filling, like a big plate of garlicky broccoli, into a satisfying supper. Just add a couple of fried, poached or scrambled eggs, and maybe some crusty bread, and you have yourself a meal.

So can you put an egg on anything? Just about.

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Meatless Monday: Spicy Thai Sweet Potato-Ginger Soup

sweet potato soup

Isn’t soup the best? It warms you up when it’s freezing outside, it’s easy to make, it’s a great way to clean out the fridge (you really can throw any old vegetables sitting in the crisper into your current soup of the day) and you can make a big batch at the beginning of the week and eat it for lunch or dinner (or breakfast if you’re into that) for days. Some soups — those spiced with cumin or ginger especially — taste even better after a few days. Bobby Deen’s Thai Sweet Potato Soup is one such soup. Make a pot tonight and enjoy a steaming bowl when it’s done, then pack some for lunch tomorrow. After the flavors of the curry paste, ginger and garlic have a chance to meld overnight, your soup will taste even more amazing tomorrow — so much so that you might want it for dinner again.

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Meatless Monday: Saag and Paneer

sag and paneer

I’ve been craving Indian food all weekend. I don’t know if it’s because I’m sick to death of stuffing and green bean casserole, or because I saw Life of Pi over the weekend (it was the dinner-at-home-in-India scenes, not the marooned-on-a-life-raft-in-the-middle-of-the-ocean that did it), but I can’t stop thinking about vegetable curry. And naan. And dal. And mango lassis.

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Hosting Vegetarians at the Holidays

Veggieducken

Vegetarians don’t eat many common holiday centerpiece dishes such as turkey, ham, roasts and lamb. But your veggie friends don’t need your sympathy. They just need your consideration. Here are five things to keep in mind when hosting vegetarian guests at the holidays:

1. Find out what kind of vegetarians your guests are. Some eat fish and eggs, some don’t. Vegans don’t eat any dairy. Understanding where your guests draw the line will help you plan your menu.

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Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Side Dishes

rice salad
Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Truth is, vegetarians don’t have it all that bad on Thanksgiving. It may be Turkey Day and all, but everyone knows Thanksgiving is all about the sides, and many of the best ones are meatless. The only thing you need to keep in mind if you’re cooking for vegetarians on Thanksgiving or are going meatless yourself is that sometimes meaty ingredients lurk in vegetable dishes like soups and casseroles. If you’re doing the cooking, you can easily substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock, and if you’re a vegetarian guest at a meal, just ask a lot of questions — those bacon-braised Brussels sprouts might be a favorite side for everyone else at the table, but you might want to skip it.

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Meatless Monday: Macaroni and Cheese With Mushrooms and Kale

macaroni and cheese
Going meatless on Mondays (or any other day) isn’t an excuse for a full-on carb and cheese fest. But it’s easy to do so: macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, pizza, quesadillas — these are all completely meatless and completely amazing foods. But if you eat pizza all day every Monday, you’ll be missing out on the point, and the health benefits of Meatless Monday. An easy fix? Add some vegetables to your favorite cheesy, carby comfort foods and you’re all set. Comfort with a side of vitamins and fiber.

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Meatless Monday: Hungarian Portabella Paprikash

mushroom paprikash

Paprikash sounds pretty elaborate but it just means paprika in Hungarian. It’s a Hungarian stew of meat — usually chicken — cooked with paprika, peppers and often sour cream, that gets served with egg noodles. Because it’s typically made with meat I hadn’t ever had it — I gave up meat long before I heard of such a thing called Paprikash; it wasn’t exactly in my mom’s weeknight dinner repertoire in my early meat-eating days. But Rachael Ray uses portabella mushrooms to make her paprikash, so it’s completely veg-friendly. Plus I’m obsessed with smoked paprika, so any recipe that calls for it is on my must-make list. You can substitute sweet paprika in this recipe, but go for the smoked; it makes a huge difference.

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Meatless Monday: Creamy Baked Pumpkin Risotto

pumpkin risotto

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

If you want risotto for dinner you either have to go to an Italian restaurant or commit to spending at least a half hour standing at the stove, stirring and stirring the rice with broth until the starches in the rice break down and become creamy. But Aida Mollenkamp came up with a technique that replaces the stand-and-stir method with a time-freeing bake-and-walk-away recipe. You just bake arborio rice with canned pumpkin puree and diced butternut squash and finish it with Parmesan and mascarpone cheeses. The result is a rich, creamy risotto that you don’t have to slave over.

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Meatless Monday: Red Lentil Salad

lentil salad

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Dried beans can take a long time to cook (dried black beans, chick peas, kidney, etc.), but lentils are a surprisingly quick-cooking legume. They’re also a great, healthy addition to a vegetarian’s pantry; lentils provide protein and complex carbohydrates, and they’re full of fiber to keep you satisfied longer. Plus they’re super inexpensive, so you get major bang for your buck (less than a buck in most cases.)

A cheap, healthy, filling, vegetarian protein source? Sounds like a dream come true, right? But how do they taste? Lentils taste bean-like, but are pretty mild and take on the flavor of the sauce or spices they’re cooked in. Their texture is pretty bean-y but they hold their disc-like shape well (unless they’re cooked for a long time, like in lentil soup). They’re a staple in Indian and Mediterranean cooking and work well in stews, soups, curries and salads made with grains, vegetables or just lentils.

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